This is Buckinghamia celsissima or the Ivory Curl tree, it is another small to medium tree that is in flower over the summer months, chances are you have seen it around, it is VERY hard to miss. I saw this one on a street in Mosman, I think it was planted by a resident as there weren’t any others in the street, I also wondered if someone had pruned it to have such a clean trunk…?
Buckinghamia celsissima occurs naturally in north eastern QLD, however they grow quite well on the NSW coast as long as there aren’t any frosts. In its natural rainforest habitat it will grow very tall to break through the canopy and reach the light, however the further south they are found and the colder the climate the smaller they grow, here in the Sydeny region you can expect them to be a maximum height of about 6 – 8 metres.
The flowers are very like a Grevillea spike flower and attract the bees with their prolific nectar, the flowers are almost 30cm long and cause the branches to drop down giving the tree a weeping habit.
When not in flower the leaves are quite stunning also, they have a beautiful bronze tinge in the new growth and the juvenile leave are deeply divided. Buckinghamia celsissima makes an excellent screening plant and also a good small shade tree, it will grow in shade but not flower particularly well. I would love to see more planted in our suburban Sydney streets.